Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back from Holiday to Harry Potter Mania

Well, it's two o clock in the morning of the 21st July. I've just been watching sky news reports about the midnight release of Deathly Hallows, and judging from the comments on mugglenet, the spoilers I saw were the real thing :-(( I know, a) my own stupid fault for looking and b) I'm far too old to be this caught up in a children's book! I'm just glad that Emily didn't see them. I can preserve the magic for her for a goodly while yet ;-) We've had a Harry Potter day all day today, and we've played endless pretends acting out parts of the plot we thought were to come. Eagerly awaiting our amazon copy tomorrow/today then. If it's not here by noon we'll be off to Asda to buy one there.

Anyway. We got back from holiday late on Monday and we had the most fantastic ten days away. The best holiday yet. Utterly relaxed, full on family time, just the three of us, it was beautiful. We spent most of the time playing on St Bees Beach, playing in the caravan (how did Emily get so good at scrabble and skip-bo??) and just enjoying being together in peace for once. We did enjoy a trip back to Trotters World of Animals, only slightly spoilt by the various school trips full of noisy, rude, disinterested children. On the same day we also visited the stunning and magical Castlerigg Stone Circle, again only slightly spoilt by people allowing their children to run around screaming, shouting and climbing all over this beautiful and special ancient site :-((

Emily was utterly bewildered and quite distressed by the behaviour going on - all she wanted to do was to touch the stones gently, to feel for the ancient carvings and to try to sense the energy and find out about the history. No screaming, running, climbing or yelling required, thanks. Why do people take kids to an ancient site and then let them behave as if it's the local council adventure playground? Surely it's instinctive in a place like this that you treat it with respect? OK, toddlers and very young kids don't understand, but that's the parents job to keep them in check. Children of Emily's age and over should certainly understand without needing to be told. You feel it, you sense it, common decency and an inbuilt awe tells you as much. Give it a few more years and they'll close it off like they had to with Stonehenge. Will everyone be satisfied then?

We spent long happy hours rescuing little silver fish that were beaching themselves in the rivlets running out of rockpools, examining washed up jelly fish (compass and large lion's mane jellyfish in these pictures, I think) and saving the ones we could

finding crabs, sea anenomes and starfish and collecting enough beautiful shells to cover a flowerbed outside the caravan - a half hour's walk on the sandstone shelves in the first picture produced an entire tub full in the second picture, for instance.
Emily and Jon explored the rocks at the base of Tomlin head as far round as they could possibly go at low tide, looking at the carved out names on the rocks dating from the 1800s and taking pictures of what remains of the wreck of the SS Izaro, which ran aground off St Bees in 1907 (bottom of page on the link). I have some lovely photos they took on the rocks, but they're on the second (and at this very moment, missing, memory card, so will post later).

We also went for a picnic on the shores of Lake Ennerdale

and visited the very impressive little cinema in Workington to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on its release day. Loved the film, although I was a little disappointed with the lack of emotional intensity when it came to Sirius' death and Harry's reaction to it. What was a harrowing part of the book seemed to be very glossed over in the flim, but otherwise, it was certainly a good watch, and prompted hours of discussion about the parts they left out of the film and why.

In all, though, we didn't need to go further than the two minutes from the caravan straight down onto the beach, in all weathers (not that it rained too much, actually). Even at high tide (and at high tide in St Bees, you've barely a little bit of shingle left to walk on) Emily still had huge fun sitting on "Potions Rock" crushing up bits of sandstone and quartz to make potions.
A little selection of other pictures, including Emily at the old St Bees tidal swimming pool in the rocks, built in the 1930s but abandoned in the 2nd world war, just as the tide's about to start filling it up again:
and yet more of the beautiful beach with its miles and miles of sand, rockpools, streams and oooh, just about everything you could want from a British beach.

We'll be going back in October and we can't wait; I think this was the first time we'd actually been away together as a family for longer than five or six days. May and June were rather stressful months, so it was such a welcome break :-)))

Jon attended his level one Reiki course the day before we went away, and came home buzzing, so I was treated to reiki while we were away, which went down rather well :-)) Jon and Emily also practised tarot readings galore, with pretty accurate results, picking up on stuff I was thinking which nobody else knew I was thinking ;-)

Came home on Monday to find Romeo with two very deep cuts on his flank, though :-(( Weird marks, like a large oval and a smaller circle, close to each other but not touching, with the skin kind of gouged away quite deeply. He'd been fine earlier that day for my Mum and Dad, so he must have done it just hours before we got home. He wasn't a very happy chappy, bless his heart. We took him to the vet, who reckons it must have been either a very large cat or a larger animal. He's fine now, it seems to be healing well, and the vet fell in love with him, lol, as this particular one hadn't met him before.

And despite my words to the contrary....we'll shortly be welcoming two new kit kats to the household. Two of Jackie's black Burmese kittens are looking for homes. As if we could resist. I know Emily has some very Harry Potterish names in mind for them!


lucy said...

Looks like a fantastic holiday - what amazing jellyfish. Never seen any like it up here. We were sad that they missed out St. Mungo's in the film - I liked that bit in the book very much... well back to the hallows ;)

Jax said...

good to have you back.

Nikki said...

Thank you Lucy and Jax. Lucy, yes, we were sad about St Mungo's too. It was really interesting finding out about the hospital in the book, and the scene with Neville and his Mum were emotional. We wondered why they'd changed Snape's worst memory too, and missed out the part about him calling Lily a mudblood. From what I've seen of Deathly Hallows....they may regret missing that bit out when they come to make the Deathly Hallows film. Oooh, and lots of other bits too. This was the first time I'd seen a HP film *after* reading the books - didn't properly read any of them until after the GofF film; I know they can't put everything in, but they did seem to miss out some pretty significant bits.